This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Manuel Tolsá (Enguera, Valencia, Spain, May 4, 1757 - Mexico City, December 24, 1816) was a prolific Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico. He served as the first director of the Academy of San Carlos.
Tolsá studied at the Royal Academy of San Carlos in Valencia and the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. He was a student of José Puchol in sculpture and of Ribelles, Gascó and Gilabert in architecture. In Spain he was the sculptor of the king's chamber, minister of the Supreme Junta of Commerce, Minting and Mines, and an academic in San Fernando. In 1790 he was named director of sculpture at the recently created Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. He sailed from Cádiz in February, 1791, bringing with him to New Spain, in accordance with the king's instructions, books, instruments of his profession, and plaster copies of classic sculptures from the Vatican Museum. He married María Luisa de Sanz Téllez Girón y Espinosa in the port of Veracruz.
On his arrival in Mexico City the ayuntamiento (city government) made him supervisor of the drainage and water supply systems of the city and assigned him the tasks of the replanting the Alameda park in the center of the city and the grounds of the coliseum. For these services he did not receive compensation. Thereafter he dedicated himself to the artistic and civil works for which he is now remembered. He also built furniture, made adornments for altars (candelabra, crucifixes, etc.), cast cannons, opened a bathhouse, built coaches and established a kiln. He donated a collection of molds and figures and 300 medals and coins to the Academy of San Carlos.
Tolsá died in 1816 of a gastric ulcer. His remains were interred in the church of Santa Veracruz, and later transferred to San Fernando.